Tag Archives: Irish folk music

Artist Profiles: Liz Carroll

Liz Carroll – Photo by Knuff Photography

Born in Chicago to Irish parents Liz Carroll was a natural at the fiddle right from the start. At age 18 she amazed the Celtic music world by winning the All-Ireland Senior Championship. Raised in the close-knit South side Irish community she learned the fiddle from her father and other older Irish musicians tagging along with him to Irish,session” where such respected musicians as fiddler Johnny McGreevy and pianist Eleanor (Kane) Neary could be found. She wrote her first tune at age nine.

An original member of the group Cherish the Ladies Liz has performed with artists ranging from the late virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin to rock musician Don Henley. She has also performed with the String Sisters (with fellow fiddlers Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of Altan Natalie Mac Master Catriona MacDonald from Scotland Annbjørg Lien of Norway and American Liz Knowles). The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Liz the National Heritage Fellowship the country’s top honor for the traditional arts in 1994. In 1999 Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley named September 19th,Liz Carroll Day, during the Chicago Celtic Festival.

Discography:

Kiss Me Kate with Tommy Maguire (Shanachie 3412, 1978)

Trian with with Trian (1992)

Liz Carroll (Green Linnet, 1993)

Trian II with with Trian (Green Linnet SIF-1159, 1995)

A Friend Indeed (Shanachie 3413, 1995)

Lost in The Loop (Green Linnet 1199, 2000)

Lake Effect (Green Linnet 8122, 2002)

In Play with John Doyle (2005)

Live with String Sisters (2007)

Double Play, with John Doyle (Compass Records, 2009)

On the Offbeat (2013)

website: www.lizcarroll.com

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Artist Profiles: Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke – Photo by Jack Vartoogian

Kevin Burke’s sparkling lyrical fiddle has earned him a reputation as one of the finest most influential players in music today. From The Bothy Band to Patrick Street he has defined Irish fiddling for a generation. His work with artists as disparate as Kate Bush Arlo Guthrie and Christy Moore has given him an audience that not only spans continents but defies attempts at categorization.

Born and raised in London England Burke picked up his first fiddle at age eight when his parents decided music studies were in order. “To this day I have no idea why they chose the fiddle except that it’s popular in County Sligo where the family comes from and where we spent our vacations ” he laughs. “For the next five years or so I dutifully diddled around on it. Then I discovered Irish music. Suddenly I was hooked. I spent my teens wandering into pubs waiting for a chance to sit in with the musicians.”

London in the 196s was a vibrant musical scene for the Irish emigrants could be heard playing the styles of Kerry Sligo Galway Limerick and Clare. And Burke was listening. Though he counts such masters of the Sligo style as Michael Coleman Paddy Killoran and Tom McGowan as primary influences he also points to fiddlers Bobby Casey (County Clare) and Brendan McGlinchey (Ulster) and to a wealth of Irish musicians on the London scene as important in his development. “I had access to it all whereas if I’d been living in Ireland I might not have been so lucky.”

Good fortune aside Kevin’s undeniable talents brought him to the attention of Arlo Guthrie in 1972 when he was invited to the United States to play on Guthrie’s Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys. Shortly after Christy Moore the great Irish singer/songwriter asked Burke to Ireland to play in his new band. He stayed with Moore two years before joining what would become one of the most influential Irish groups of all time The Bothy Band.

Hailed as “the Yardbirds of Irish music ” the Bothy Band boasts some of the finest musical alumni in all of Ireland including Matt Molloy (Chieftains) Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Tríona Ní Domhnaill (Nightnoise) Dónal Lunny and Paddy Keenan. Burke initially joined the band as a temporary replacement for fiddler Tommy Peoples but his role soon become permanent. His elegant impassioned fiddle was a cornerstone of the band’s legendary sound from 1976 until 1979.

During their years together Burke and guitarist Míchéal Ó Domhnaill discovered a rare musical rapport. When the Bothy Band parted ways the duo toured Europe and recorded the groundbreaking Promenade which was awarded the “Grand Prix du Disque” at the 198 Montreux Jazz Festival. They went on to record Portland named for the adopted hometown where Burke still resides.

In 1986 Burke joined an all-star cast of Irish musicians that included Andy Irvine and Jackie Daly for a tour that evolved into the legendary quartet Patrick Street. Eight albums and countless tours later the partnership is stronger and more electric than ever. In the late ‘8s Burke formed Open House his short-lived but critically acclaimed project with American musicians Paul Kotapish Mark Graham and Sandy Silva. Kevin created Open House to stretch beyond his Irish roots and explore music from all corners of the world.

As if that weren’t enough he is an active member of The Celtic Fiddle Festival a dazzling pan-Celtic ensemble that also features Scotland’s Johnny Cunningham and Christian LeMaitre of Brittany. Though the trio first came together for a one-off tour they went on to record two successful albums both highlighting the brilliant interplay between the fiddlers.

In Concert is Burke’s first solo release in 15 years. His fiddling tone and power are in mighty form as he sails through tunes drawn from throughout his remarkable career. “There are thousands of old tunes good ones that haven’t been played in years. When I find something I love I play it. And when I find something I like I bend it out of shape until I love it…Good music is good music. It should be heard.”

A lot of people think Irish music is wistful and melancholy. That’s one side of it but there’s also a great rough resilient spirit in the music an element of joy underlying even the most plaintive melody. I grew up listening to musicians with that spirit and I value it. So much in music today makes people passive bored and boring: three things I never want to be.</em>”

In 2002 Burke won the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship.

Discography:

Sweeney’s Dream (1972)

If The Cap Fits (Green Linnet 1978)

Promenade (1979)

Eavesdropper (1981)

Portland (1982)

Up Close (Green Linnet 1984)

Burke/Daly/Irvine/McGlynn: Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1986)

No. 2 Patrick Street with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1988)

Irish Times with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 199)

Open House with Open House (1992)

Celtic Fiddle Festival with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993)

All in Good Time with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1993)

Second Story with Open House (1994)

Corner Boys with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1996)

Hoof and Mouth with Open House (1997)

Made in Cork with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1997)

Celtic Fiddle Festival: Encore with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1998)

Live From Patrick Street with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 1999)

In Concert (Green Linnet 1999)

Rendezvous with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2001)

Street Life with Patrick Street (Green Linnet 2003)

Play On with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2005)

In Tandem with Ged Foley (2006)

Across The Black River with Cal Scott (2007)

On the Fly with Patrick Street (2007)

Equinoxe with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2008)

Suite with Cal Scott (2010)
Live in Brittany with The Celtic Fiddle Festival (Loftus, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Jerry O’Sullivan

Jerry O’Sullivan

Uilleann piper flutist and whistler Jerry O’Sullivan has been at the very heart of the traditional Irish music scene in New York for many years and is always the first to help when a member of the community needs it. A gifted performer he has worked with many groups in the area as well enjoying an enviable career as a solo artist.

He has amassed a substantial discography with appearances on over sixty albums. He has been a music teacher for many years at The Tara Circle and many Irish arts weekends and has always been happy to share his time and talent.

Discography

The Invasion (Green Linnet 1997)
The Gift (Shanachie 1998)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell (2005)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell: Volume II (2010)

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Artist Profiles: Eileen Ivers

Eileen Ivers – Photo by Patrick McBride

Eileen Ivers – The musical star of Riverdance and currently a sensation in Europe, Eileen Ivers is the most successful American-born competitor in the history of the all-Ireland championships. Along with her thirty medals, Eileen Ivers won seven All-Ireland fiddle titles and an eighth on the tenor banjo. The native New Yorker displays a breathtaking technical range and refreshing choice of repertoire.

Born in the Irish community of the Bronx, New York, Eileen Ivers began playing fiddle at the age of eight and eventually studied with famed Limerick-born fiddler Martin Mulvihill.

As an Irish-American raised in an ethnically diverse Bronx neighborhood, Eileen was forever intrigued by the multicultural sounds of her childhood environs. After graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics from lona College, Eileen passionately immersed herself in the myriad of musical genres that had once filled her young ears. Perhaps it was the mathematical mind coupled with her passion for seeking parallels in certain traditional music styles that contributed to what has become Eileen’s signature sound: A beautiful and enthralling melange clearly grounded in traditional Irish music that embraces the rhythms of African. Latin and American roots music in a natural way.

Eileen Ivers in 2006

Eileen was a founding member of the all-woman Celtic folk group Cherish the Ladies and has been a member of such notable bands as, Hall and Oates, The Green Fields of America, and Chanting House before joining the World Wide hit show Riverdance.

On her album Crossing the Bridge, Ivers collaborated with a broad array of celebrated world-music performers, including John Doyle and Seamus Egan of Solás, Bakithi Kumalo (heard on Paul Simon’s Graceland album), Joanie Madden of Cherish The Ladies, and jazz artists Eddie Gomez and Randy Brecker.

In 1999 Eileen established a touring production company in New York City to present the music which now encompasses Eileen Ivers and her band, Immigrant Soul. This mix of African and Latin percussion and bass, Irish instrumentalists, and American soulful vocals is privileged to appear at major performing arts centers, guest with numerous symphonies is true to the heart of Irish music while embracing the multiculturalism of American life.

Discography:

Eileen Ivers (Green Linnet 1139, 1994)

Wild Blue (Green Linnet 1166, 1996)

So Far – The Eileen Ivers Collection 1979-1995 (Green Linnet 1185, 1997)

Titanic (Sony Classical SK 6691)

Crossing the Bridge (Sony Classical SK 6746, 1999)

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul ( Koch CD-8494, 2003)

An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas (2007)

www.eileenivers.com

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Artist Profiles: Deanta

Déanta

Déanta was an excellent contemporary Irish folk music band from County Antrim. The young virtuosos steadily built an international reputation for music both pristine and pulsating. They were recipients of numerous awards for their beautifully-crafted vocal and instrumental work.

Musicians: Mary Dillon (vocals), Deirdre Havlin (flute and whistles), Rosie Mulholland (keyboards and fiddle), Eoghan O’Brien (harp and guitar), Kate O’Brien (fiddle and viola), Clódagh Warnock (bouzouki).

Discography:

Deanta (Green Linnet, 1993)

Ready for the Storm (Green Linnet, 1994)

Whisper Of A Secret (1997)

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Artist Profiles: Connie Dover

Connie Dover – Photo by Gherig Fry

Connie Dover is an acclaimed singer specialized in the traditional music of Great Britain and Ireland. Her remarkable voice and inspired arrangements have earned her a  place among the world’s finest Celtic singers.

Connie’s best-selling albums: Somebody (1991) The Wishing Well (1994) and If Ever I Return (1997) and The Border of Heaven (2000) were produced by former Silly Wizard multi-instrumentalist Phil Cunningham. They feature instrumentation by excellent traditional musicians from both side of the Atlantic.

Connie began her Celtic music career as a lead singer for the Kansas City-based Irish band Scartaglen. She also performed in a duo with former Scartaglen member Roger Landes. She has toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada appearing on radio television in concert and at nearly every major folk festival in North America.

In addition to her solo recordings Connie contributed songs to seven recordings on the Narada Record label and has been a guest on numerous collections of folk and Celtic music. In 1991 she founded the Taylor Park Music record label to release her own albums which are now distributed worldwide. Her voice can also be heard in film and television soundtracks and she was a music consultant for the Ang Lee Civil War epic film Ride with the Devil.

Born in Arkansas and raised in Missouri, Connie Dover is of English, Cherokee, Mexican, and Scots/Irish descent. She discovered the wealth of the Celtic music tradition as a teenager and began a search that continues to this day devoting her life to the research collection preservation and recording of traditional songs and ballads. Her history degree earned from William Jewell College and her undergraduate work at Oxford University have further enriched her unique perspective of the historical context of folk music and her insightful interpretations bring ancient ballads to life.

When Connie is not touring or recording she spends time working on Wyoming cattle ranches where she is a trail cook during ranch cattle drives (and where she can often be heard singing old-time songs around a roaring campfire to the accompaniment of hoarse cowboys and lowing cattle).

The theme that runs through her work is the exploration of the common ground between British Isles and American folk music and she offers the modern listener a musical experience that transcends both centuries and cultural boundaries and affirms our connection with the past.

Discography:

Somebody (Taylor Park Music TPMCD 11, 1991)

The Wishing Well (Taylor Park Music TPMD 21, 1994)

If Ever I Return (Taylor Park Music, 1997)

The Border of Heaven (Taylor Park Music, 2000)

The Holly & The Ivy (Taylor Park Music, 2009)

Restless Angel – Ranch Girl Love Lyrics (Taylor Park Music, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Cherish the Ladies

Cherish the Ladies in 2008

Cherish the Ladies is an Irish traditional music sensation, one of the most successful and sought-after Irish-American groups in Celtic music history. The group was named after a well-known Irish traditional jig.

Organized in in 1985 by folklorist and musician Mick Moloney and sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music. Though initially the group won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band, they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have won many thousands of listeners and fans of their music.

With their remarkable mix of skilled instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and dazzling step dancing, Cherish the Ladies combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in a humorous and entertaining package. The group has traveled throughout North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. They have been named Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper and received the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s International Group of the Year Award at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland.

The original musicians were Joanie Madden (flute, whistles), Mary Coogan (guitar), Maureen Doherty Macken (button accordion, whistle), Winifred Horan (fiddle, dancing feet), Siobhan Egan (bodhran), Eileen Golden (dancing feet).

Discography:

Cherish the Ladies: Irish Women Musicians in America (Shanachie, 1985)

Fathers And Daughters from Cherish the Ladies: Irish Traditional Music in America (1985)

The Back Door (Green Linnet, 1992)

Out and About (Green Linnet, 1993)

New Day Dawning (Green Linnet, 1996)

Live! (1997)

One and All: The Best of Cherish the Ladies (Green Linnet, 1998)

Threads of Time (1998)

At Home (1999)

The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone (2001)

Across the Waves (2004)

On Christmas Night (Rounder, 2004)

Woman of the House (Rounder, 2005)

A Star In The East (2009)

Country Crossroads (2011)

An Irish Homecoming, Live from Bucknell (2013)

Christmas in Ireland (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Cathie Ryan

Cathie Ryan

 

Irish-American soprano vocalist and songwriter Cathie Ryan grew up in Detroit, Michigan,  surrounded by traditional Irish influences.  She is expert at the ancient art of sean nos (pronounced “shan-nos”) unaccompanied singing, and its traces can be heard in her delicate trilling and subtle ornamentation. The Detroit influences are also there in the form of blues and R&B beats.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

“I would describe my music as coming from an Irish-American experience,” Ryan said. “I was raised by Irish parents in an American city setting, and my music comes from that, from all of that. But I always thought you had to do one or the other: you were either an American singer or you were an Irish singer. It has taken time to understand that I can be both. I just sing what’s in me.”

Cathie has released several solo albums and is featured on more than forty compilations of Celtic Music.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

There is nothing like a live show, being with an audience, sharing the music. That is the best part of being a singer and writing songs ,’ she says.

In 2003 Cathie was included in the famous Irish music collection, A Woman’s Heart’ A Decade On placing her among Irish music’s finest female vocalists and songwriters. It was the first time Americans were featured in the series and she shared the honor with Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

Her original songs have been recorded by distinguished Irish vocalists such as Frances Black and Mary Black among others.

Discography:

Cathie Ryan (Shanachie, 1997)

Mother, with Robin Spielberg and Susan McKeown (North Star, 1999)

The Music of What Happens (Shanachie, 1998)

Somewhere Along the Road (Shanachie, 2001)

The Farthest Wave (Shanachie, 2005)

Through Wind and Rain (Mo Leanbh Records, 2012)

website: http://www.cathieryan.com

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Artist Profiles: Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell is known and respected all over the world for his masterful flute playing and singing, solo as well as with his band, Boys of the Lough and for the enormous number of tunes and songs he has stored in his head over a lifetime in music. A co-founder of the band and a member for nearly thirty years, Cathal and the Boys Of The Lough have performed in major concert halls throughout the world and have recorded nearly twenty albums.

Born in Co. Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, he won All-Ireland Championships in both flute and tin whistle at the age of 18. Five years later he started touring with the first incarnation of the Boys of the Lough and has been with them ever since as instrumentalist and lead singer. He has become well known over the years as a true virtuoso of the flute and pennywhistle.

Discography

The Boys of the Lough (Trailer Records, 1973)
Second Album (Trailer Records, 1973)
Live at Passim’s (Philo Records, 1974)
Lochaber No More (Philo Records, 1976)
The Piper’s Broken Finger (Transatlantic Records, 1976)
An Irish Jubilee ‎(Topic Records, 1976)
Good Friends … Good Music (Transatlantic Records, 1977)
On Lough Erne’s Shore (Topic Records, 1978)
Wish You Were Here (Transatlantic Records, 1978)
Regrouped (Flying Fish, 198)
In the Tradition (Topic Records, 1981)
Open Road (Topic Records, 1983)
To Welcome Paddy Home (Philo Records, 1985)
Far From Home – Live (Shanachie Records, 1986)
Farewell and Remember Me (Shanachie Records, 1987)
Sweet Rural Shade (Shanachie Records, 1988)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1992)
The Fair Hills of Ireland (Lough Records, 1992)
The Day Dawn (Lough Records, 1994)
Midwinter Night’s Dream (Blix Street Records, 1996)
The West of Ireland (Lough Records, 1999)
Long Expectant Comes at Last (2000)
Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (Lough Records, 2002)
Twenty (Lough Records, 2005)
Rising Fawn Gathering, with Norman Blake (Western Jubilee Recording Company/Plectrafone Records, 2009)
Good Friends – Good Music (Rounder, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Ben Sands

Ben Sands

Ben Sands lives in Newry, County Down, close to the mountains and the sea and not far from the small farm where he and his six siblings grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

He’s a songwriter who sings about life and love and the ways of the world.  Sands is also a multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, whistles, keyboards, and fiddle.

Ben has been touring and recording with his sister Anne and brothers Tommy and Colum since the late 1960s. The Sands Family have recorded over twenty albums to date; made numerous television appearances; and performed extensively in Ireland, UK, Europe, Canada and USA.

The members of the Family still  get together for special tours and festival appearances but are also, pursuing successful solo careers.

Discography:

Take Your time (1993)

Roots and Branches (1998)

Better Already (Spring Records, 2003)

Take My Love With You (Spring Records, 2010)

Troubadour (Spring Records, 2015)

website: www.bensands.com

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